Friday, December 18, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - A Liberal Santa

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! This cute fellow is looking all innocent and trying his best to convince us that he is decorating the place with holly as the little rhyme suggests. He's actually raiding his Christmas stocking for the pecans and that juicy tangerine stuck in the toe by the very liberal Santa.

The card was mailed to Miss Clorinda Ramsey in Charlotte Ut - the date is faint, but it appears to be December 22, 1915.

Eighty percent of the population of Utah lives around the Great Salt Lake which is a remnant of a much larger prehistoric lake called Lake Bonneville which at it's peak surface area, was nearly as large as Lake Michigan and significantly deeper, covering roughly ten times the area of Great Salt Lake. It was over 1,000 feet deep, and covered much of present day Utah and parts of Idaho and Nevada during the Great Ice Age. About 17,000 years ago a large portion of the lake was released through the Red Rock River in Idaho in a massive flood. The flood area can still be seen from the sky if you happen to fly over.

Utah is called the Beehive State. The beehive is a symbol of industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance. The beehive was chosen as the emblem for the seal of the State of Utah when it became a state in 1896.

Honey, mainly clover, alfalfa and wildflower - is an important commodity of Utah, thanks to industrious bees. It has a low moisture/high sugar content due to the arid climate.

Speaking of bees, "the bee's knees" is a popular phrase from the Roaring 20's meaning excellent or highest quality. The origin of the phrase is uncertain.

The Real Bee's Knees

One possible connection between the phrase and an actual bee relates to Bee Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a dancer in the 1920's New York and is credited with introducing the Charleston to Broadway in February, 1924 when she appeared at the Silver Slipper nightclub. She went on to become the World Champion Clarleston dancer and was quite celebrated at the time.

It's possible that the expression was coined in reference to her very active knees.

The bee's knees probably was just a rhymed catch-phrase of the day like hocus pokus, hoi paloi and hoity toity. Isn't that the cat's pajamas? Mum's the word and let's 23 skiddoo!
Besides honey, what might we find on the Utah Christmas buffet?

How about these Utah favorites: Fried Scones, Funeral Potatoes and (this is sooo 1950’s) Green Jello with grated carrots.

The fried scones, a deep fried buttermilk yeast bread, may be an Anglicanized version of Navajo fry cakes and sopapillas. They are seved with honey butter, which is a mixture of one part butter and one part honey whipped together. The scones most of the population is familliar with are leavened with baking powder and baking soda and baked in an oven.

The "Four Corners" area where Utah, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada meet is known as the fried bread capitol of the world. Sounds like a place I need to visit!

There's Always Room For Jell-O - except Green Jello can stay in Utah for all I care.

According to Kraft Foods, Utah residents eat more Jell-O per capita than the other 49 states. Lime is a particular favorite. This Jell-O was immortalized during the 2002 Olympics, where pins depicting this dessert were sold. Apparently, Kraft underestimated the demand and they became collector's items.
" the early 90's, Salt Lake City residents became the Jell-O buying champs by eating four boxes per person per year, or about four times as much as the average American. Local food experts attribute this to the city's extensive Mormon population where large families and low alchohol consumption, compensate with high sugar intake. Salt Lake City residents also buy more lime Jell-O than all other Americans (presumably to make that most popular of local Jell-O dishes, lime Jell-O with shredded carrots." --Jell-O: A Biography, Carolyn Wyman[Harcourt: San Diego] 2001 (p. 121-2)

Well, have at it, I say. I ate enough Jell-O during the 1960's to put any Mormon to shame. This is a true statement: Jello was a fruit, vegetable and dessert back then. You'd find Jell-o molds at every meal and family gathering. Even weddings. And people would eat it, whether filled with sliced radishes, grated carrots, shredded cabbage, black olives or any kind of fruit or nut. It might have a layer of sour cream, ketsup, or Elmer's Glue. It was served like berries, with milk or cream! It was whipped, layered, molded or cut into diamonds or squares. When I think back....well, I try not to think back...erp.

And what about those Funeral Potatoes???

There are about as many recipes as there are people who prepare it. It has many other names, but it's always, really, funeral potatoes.

Here's one version:

1 Large bag of frozen, shredded hash brow potatoes (the raw ones, not the pre-cooked brown ones)

2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup

1 pint of sour cream

1 small bunch green onions cut fine

a cup or two of grated cheese such as cheddar/jack

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, spread in a 9X13 pan that has been greased with cooking spray or butter.

Top with crushed cornblakes, bread crumbs or crushed potatoe chips that have been drizzled with a couple tablespoons of melted butter.

The recipe says to cook at 350 degrees for about 1/2 hour but that does not sound right, especially if the potatoes are still frozen. I would guess that an hour or an hour and 15 minutes will work. Just keep an eye on it, and when it's browned on top and bubbly all over, it's done.

And finally:

An admission of guilt! About half way through my research I got to thinking about the mailing address on that postcard. Somehow Charlotte didn't sound tough enough to be a city in Utah. They need names like Burley Man and Skunk Rock to keep up their image. Besides, I couldn't find a city, town, village, place or ghost town with that name. I decided that the UT might actualle be VT. Hmmm! I was right. heh heh. However, we've already talked about Vermont - you remember - maple surup, granite yatta yatta. So I made a blogecutive decision and finished researching Utah. It's a pretty interesting state.

Hope all your Christmas plans are coming along smoothly and hope your house smells like cinnamon and pine boughs!

Be sure and stop by Marie's at Voila Vintage Postcards for more Postcard Friendship Friday Fun! The link is on my side bar. no, the right. Up a little further...up...uuuup. Yes! There. Just click and you'll be transported to France! Magic!


Christine said...

Aw...Utah...Vermont...what the heck. You always put a smile on my face. I liked all the Utah info anyway, but I am staying far away from green jello with shredded anything and far far away from those funeral potatoes. The fried scones are another story. I have had those and they are heavenly with a little bit of that delicious Utah honey, but they will probably kill you just about as fast as the funeral potatoes.

Postcardy said...

I love green jello mold with pineapple and cream cheese, but I don't eat anything made with cream soup.

viridian said...

Funeral potatoes! we know them as Church Potatoes becasue they go to so many Church suppers.

steviewren said...

Now that I am at the end of this PFF post, I'm wondering if you are suffering from ADD...or maybe you are trying out stream of conscientiousness blogging.

Ps I'd like to think that Bee's knees inspired the saying. GO BEE!

Beth Niquette said...

Wonderful post! A Merry Christmas to you, dear girl--and a Merry Christmas to YOU! Happy PFF!

Jeanne said...

Great post -- I love the way you intermingle interesting facts with your even-more-interesting opinions on things like Jello.

Merry Christmas!

Lyneen said...

TOO Funny Vermont Utah. Hey history is history... and I loved reading about Utah and lime jello!

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